Skipper Kalidou Koulibaly and goalkepeer Eduoard Mendy will be key for Senegal when they face a English team blessed with loads of attacking options in the 2022 World Cup Round of 16 clash today.
Aliou Cissé’s men will begin the tie as underdogs and will have to be compact in defense against an England attack of Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling as Gareth Southgate so selects.
Both players were effective vs Ecuador as Senegal secured a 2-1 win to reach the last-16, Koulibaly bagging a 70th minute winner in the winner takes all contest.
ENGLAND’S FREE SCORING ATTACK VS KHOULIBALY AND MENDY
How the Terenga Lions fare duo fare vs England’s free-scoring attack will be key to their chances of causing another World Cup upset to reach the last-8.
The Three Lions have excelled in attack in Qatar, scoring nine times (6 vs Iran and 3 vs Wales) to win Group B.
England skipper Harry Kane has not opened his goal account yet but the Tottenham Hotspurs man is expected to lead the lines vs Senegal.
Gareth Southgate’s men will create chances that Goalkepeer Eduoard Mendy must be at his very best to keep out while the Koulibaly marshalled defence must ensure it remains compact for the entire duration of the game.
Southgate will likely start Kieran Trieppier as fullback, his style whenever he expects an opposition that will sit deep in their own half and wait to pounce on the counter.
Marcus Rashford when not afforded space but same cannot be said of Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka a reason why both players getting on the starting XI will make Senegal’s job even more daunting.
HEAD TO HEAD
The very first meeting between Senegal and England at this level.
England however will draw inspiration from their positive record against African opposition but Senega will take the driving seat if the match goes to Penalty shoot-outs because of England’s recent shoot-out woes.
African Champions Senegal arrived at the World Cup without star man Sadio Mane, Cheikh Kouyate got injured in the first group game to further deplete the Squad.
Aliou Cisse will be without the services of suspended Idrissa Gueye whose place would be taken by Leicester City Midfielder Namplays Mendy.
Ismaila Sarr will anchor their hopes in attack and alongside Ndiaye must be clinical in attack to see off the Three Lions.
On paper , Senegal defeating England at the Al Bayt Stadium is a difficult challenge but like the 2022 World Cup has shown, anything can happen.
England possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Rashford, Kane, Foden
Senegal possible starting lineup:
E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; P. Gueye, N. Mendy, Ciss; Ndiaye, Dia, Sarr
WHEN AND WHERE WILL THIS MATCH BE PLAYED
Senegal will take on England on Sunday December 4, 2022 by 8pm (Nigeria time) at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.
World Champions France will face Poland in the other Round-16 clash billed for Sunday. Kick-off for this one is 4pm.